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Omahe. City planning 

Preliminary studies 
for a city plan for Omaha 








iflN 2 8 1263 




George T. Morton Chairman 

B. Kvenild Secretary and Engineer 

The City Hall 


George B. Prinz 1917 

Everett Buckingham 1918 

Thomas A. Fry 1919 

J. E. George 1920 

George T. Morton 1921 

Terms Expiring November 4th of 
the Year Given. 


George B. Ford E. P. Goodrich 

Charles Mulford Robinson 

— 3 — 


That in each city of the metropolitan class, there 
shall be a Board known as a City Planning Com- 
mission. Said commission shall acquire or prepare 
a city plan, and shall have power to carry out and 
maintain said city plan after its adoption by the 
Mayor and City Council. Said commission shall 
consist of five members who shall be appointed by 
the Council, and serve for a term of five years, 
* * *one member shall be appointed each year. 
Members of said commission serve without pay. 
The Mayor and Council shall provide a suitable 
office for such commission in the City Hall. 

— 4 — 


Letter of Transmission ----- 7 

Part One — Preparation - - - - - 9-23 


The Survey. 

First Specific Problem. 

The Data Maps. 

The Exhibition. 

Planning for 1917. 

The War. 

Part Two — Recommendations and Suggestions - 25-83 

The Elimination of Grade Crossings on the Belt 
Line Railway. 

Boulevards and Drives. 

Inner Belt Traffic Way. 

Outer Belt Traffic Way. 

The Major Street System. 

North and South Streets. 

The East and West Streets. 

The Diagonal Streets. 

Index of Streets and Drives Mentioned - - 87-88 

— 5 — 


To the Honorable 

Mayor and City Council, 

Omaha, Neb. 


We take pleasure in submitting a report covering to 
date the activities of this Commission. For your convenience, 
we have divided it into two parts. 

Part One, covering the twelve months from May, 1916, 
to May, 1917, was prepared directly by our consulting ex- 
perts. It describes the historical development of the city 
planning idea in Omaha, and the thorough survey of the city 
and its needs, which was made under their direction. Part 
Two, based on the showing of Part One, suggests, with the 
approval of our consultants, an outline of a comprehensive 
plan for a major street system, for boulevard additions and 
corrections, and the Commission s recommendations for the 
elimination of grade crossings along the Belt Line Railway. 

We would emphasize the preliminary and tentative 
character of these suggestions. Much earnest study has been 
given to them. We believe that they are practical, and that 
for the most part, they can be carried through at compara- 
tively little cost. We are confident that in their gradual 
realization the city would gain greatly. At the same time, we 
would emphasize the fact that no comprehensive city plan, 
looking far into the future for complete accomplishment, can 
be final. In a growing city, new conditions must constantly 
arise, and it is impossible to forsee all the changes which the 
years will bring. We do not contend then, that the plan out- 
lined in the following pages is complete in all details, for 
there have been scant funds and little time for that, nor do 
we suggest that any portion of it, once accepted, can be never 
changed. Our purpose, in common with all city plan com- 
missions, has been rather to substitute the community view- 
point for the individuals; the long view for the short view; 
to think of the greater Omaha of tomorrow instead of the 
Omaha of today, and of the benefit to the city at large rather 
than of the gain to private land owners. If the spirit and 
general principles of our suggestions are approved, and the 
city so desires, we hold ourselves in readiness to prepare 

— 7 — 

more detailed studies of such improvements as the Council 
may request. Meanwhile and always, we shall welcome the 
comments and suggestions of the public. 

Many other problems of a city planning character press 
for solution besides those herein considered. The outside 
boulevard system is barely touched upon; the treatment of 
the City's wonderful ravines cries out for study; new parks 
and playgrounds, the location of rapid transit lines, the de- 
velopment of waterfront facilities, railroad terminals, indus- 
trial housing, and the reasonable control over private prop- 
erty in the interest of the community as a whole — all these 
matters which must be considered in the plans for a more 
efficient and more beautiful Omaha, for a city better to live 
in, and better to work in. We have made only a beginning, 
but we believe it is a long and important start, and if what 
has been accomplished with limited funds, and in limited 
time, commends itself to the public and your honorable body, 
we shall be glad of authority and opportunity to carry our 
work farther. 

A complete map has been prepared of the city and its 
surrounding territory, as of 1917, filling a greatly felt want. 
We have also, at the request of the Board of Education, pre- 
pared a map, based on this, showing the school districts of 
greater Omaha, and for the Election Commissioner, a ward 
map of the greater city. To the Superintendent of Public 
Improvements, Mr. W. S. Jardine, and to the City Engineer, 
Mr. John A. Bruce, we make our grateful acknowledgments 
for sympathetic support and services. We recognize also 
the interest of Mr. Joseph B. Hummel, Superintendent of 
Parks and Public Property, in that important portion of our 
work which concerns his department. 

Respectfully submitted, 

George T. Morton, 
George B. Prinz, 
Everett Buckingham, 
Thomas A. Fry, 
J. E. George, 

Members of City Planning Commission. 
B. Kvenild, 

Secretary and Engineer. 
November, 1917. 

— 8 — 



— 9 — 

Report of the First Year 

May 1916, May 1917 


On May 15, 1916, the City Planning Commission, which 
had been appointed a few months earlier, opened offices in 
the City Hall, retained B. Kvenild, of Omaha as its Secre- 
tary, and engaged Messrs. George B. Ford, Ernest P. Good- 
rich and Charles Mulford Robinson as its consulting experts. 
The two first named are of New York City, and the latter 
is of Rochester, New York. On that date, then, positive work 
on a city plan for Omaha actually began. 

It would be interesting, and doubtless instructive, to 
rehearse the long, slow processes of agitation, education and 
finally legislation which had gained for Omaha the right to 
have a City Planning Commission; but those operations ex- 
tend over a long period. Suffice to say here that in Novem- 
ber of 1915, the following gentlemen were appointed by the 
Mayor and City Council to serve as the City Planning Com- 
missioners of Omaha: George Brandeis, Everett Bucking- 
ham, Thomas A. Fry, George T. Morton and George B. 
Prinz; all men of prominence, highly respected in the com- 
munity, having behind them a record of success in their pri- 
vate affairs. In November, 1916, Mr. Brandeis resigned 
and J. E. George was appointed to take his place, an appoint- 
ment which has fully sustained the high standard of the 
commission's personnel. 

The Commission promptly organized by electing Mr. 
Morton as Chairman, and requested the City Council for an 
appropriation. Early in the new year the Council set aside 
the sum of $7,500.00 for the Commission's use during 1916. 
While this was a small sum with which to begin so large a 
task, it was all available for the work in hand, the Com- 
missioners themselves serving without pay, and their office in 
the City Hall being given them rent free. In fact, even the 
furnishings of the office were kept down to the bare neces- 
sities of efficient operation; a conference table and two 
draughting boards comprising the principle articles. 

— 11 — 

Much care, involving considerable correspondence, was 
exercised in the choice of the secretary and of the experts, 
on whom would fall the technical work of preparing the city 
plan. Once the choice was made and the contracts entered 
into, the active planning for the future of Omaha may be 
said to have gotten under way. In Omaha, Mr. Kvenild 
was in frequent conference with the Commissioners; both 
the chairman and the secretary entered into close corre- 
spondence with the experts, and in New York the latter three 
prepared in conference, a program for the year's operations, 
outlining in detail the various steps of the comprehensive 
study to be undertaken. 


Few laymen realize the thoroughness with which the 
science of city planning is now taken up. This study, once 
entered upon in a light-hearted fashion, bases its recom- 
mendations today on investigations at once so comprehensive 
and detailed, that no city is able to furnish from its records, 
all the data which is desired. It is realized that the city of 
the future must so clearly grow out of the city of the present, 
that the first essential step is to know all the present condi- 
tions. Those conditions are not engineering feats alone. 
The time has gone when the city planner can be just a muni- 
cipal engineer. He must be also an efficiency engineer and 

That fact explains why the City Planning Commission 
of Omaha selected three consultants instead of one — because 
no one man can know so much on so many different subjects 
as Omaha wants its experts to know. The choice, accord- 
ingly, was made of three men who had specialized along 
distinctive lines. Mr. Ford is an architect who has had par- 
ticular experience in the districting of cities; Mr. Goodrich 
is an engineer who has had particular experience in the 
problems of transportation, while Mr. Robinson has spe- 
cialized on street and park planning. 


Hardly had the experts and secretary been selected, 
when the pressing problem of separating the railroad grade 
crossings where Dodge, Douglas and Farnam Streets cross the 

— 12 — 

Missouri Pacific Belt Line, called Mr. Goodrich to Omaha. 
In early June, Chairman Morton, Secretary Kvenild, and 
the three consultants, made the convention in Cleveland of 
the National Conference of City Planning the occasion for a 
meeting; and a month later the consultants paid a joint visit 
to Omaha for personal investigation, study and conferences. 
At this time, the study of the grade crossing problem, par- 
ticipated in by Secretary Kvenild, the three experts, City 
Engineer Bruce and the railroad engineers was completed, 
and a careful report recommending elevation of the tracks 
and giving the details of that operation, was submitted to the 
Council. This report not only included technical data as 
to the construction and design, but detailed estimates of cost, 
enabling the Council to act on complete information. 

During this visit also, Messrs. Ford, Goodrich and 
Robinson examined all parts of the city, took many notes 
and photographs, conferred with officials and other citizens, 
and gave consideration to a number of other specific prob- 

Of more importance, however, than even these specific 
studies — taking the long view — were the conferences held 
with City Attorney Rine for the purpose of ascertaining just 
what new legislation would be needed to facilitate the carry- 
ing out of the City Plan, and to promote the city's most 
efficient development, conferences which shortly led to the 
preparation and discussion of definite bills. Most important, 
also, was the comprehensive grasp which the consultants 
gained of Omaha's many sided city planning problem, and 
the series of "surveys," or data-maps, of which they author- 
ized and directed the preparation. To assist in the latter, Mr. 
Robinson and Mr. Ford returned to Omaha from time to 
time. It is believed that from a graphic standpoint these 
maps represent the most practical and workman-like survey 
preliminary to a city plan ever made for an American City. 


There are eighteen of the maps, the experts acknowl- 
edging their indebtedness to Mr. Kvenild and his draughts- 
man for the careful work that went into them. The maps, all 
drawn to the same scale, show: 

1. Use of Land: This indicates the varying uses to 
which the building area within the city limits has been put, 

— 13 — 

different conventions indicating business property, industrial, 
residential, municipal, state and county, and railroad lands. 
Such a map may be considered as providing the fundamental 
groundwork for a city plan, of which the purpose is to fit 
each portion of the city in the best possible way for the work 
it has to do. The map reveals how business, spreading be- 
yond the "down-town" section, has already advanced along 
the lines of least resistance and heaviest travel — as south on 
Thirteenth and Sixteenth Streets, west on Leavenworth, Far- 
nam and Cuming, north on Twenty-fourth above Cuming, 
avoiding in each case, streets of heavy grade. It shows where 
the subsidiary business centers are developing — not only on 
an important scale around the packing houses in South 
Omaha, but as neighborhood centers at selected street inter- 
sections — sometimes, in their uncontrolled wilfulness, to the 
great detriment of adjoining residential property — and, 
again, as advance outposts far along the routes on which, 
nearer the city's center, business is progressing on its out- 
ward march — so showing clearly that the march is to con- 
tinue, and that the street should be prepared for its conquest 
by business. This map will, therefore, be of great value in 
suggesting the city's future requirements. 

2. The Location of the Working Population: 
Here are shown the places at which the wage earners work, 
(building trades and domestic service being omitted). Each 
dot represents fifty people. The map well supplements Num- 
ber 1, for it not only shows where the industrial establish- 
ments are, but the number of their employees. Very strik- 
ing is its depiction of the relatively high proportion em- 
ployed by the railroads and stock yards, the spreading of 
industry out Izard Street — these conditions partly explain- 
ing the advance of business upon Cuming and Izard, and 
accounting for the development of the important business 
center in South Omaha. For where men daily go and where 
they receive their wages, business gathers. 

3. The Distribution of Population: The purpose 
of this map is to show where the people live, the same num- 
erical unit — fifty people to a dot— having been adopted as 
on the map last described. It is most interesting to study 
the three maps side by side, observing how one grows out 
of another; how inevitable are the laws of urban develop- 
ment; but there is more than that to the present map. At 

— 14 — 

a glance one sees where are the congested blocks, where the 
city planner must be on the watch for over-crowding, for tene- 
ments, and for bad housing conditions generally; where the 
need is sorest for playgrounds and open spaces; and where, 
on the other hand, the street provision is in excess of the 
probable requirements of the population for years to come. 

' 4. The Location of Areas Where Dwellings are 
Crowded or Unsanitary: Because housing conditions are 
of far reaching importance to the community, they have been 
made the subject of a special map, supplementing Number 
3. On this map cross hatching shows the unsanitary houses, 
and the solid black the houses located on the rear of lots. 
Both are much too numerous for a city in which the average 
density of population is as light as in Omaha. For this, the 
long lots and the general adoption of an alley system are in 
large part responsible. The condition is one which is danger- 
ous to the welfare of the community. 

5. Existing and Proposed Sewers: Reassuring, 
after the last map, is the showing of the extent to which 
Omaha is provided with sewers — though some strange gaps 
still remain, and a good many sewers have yet to be con- 
structed, in South Omaha particularly. It appears that gen- 
arally sewers exist in the areas of unsanitary housing. Con- 
sequently, the perfectly reasonable requirement of connec- 
tion with them may be expected to affect a large improve- 
ment, without further cost to the community. 

6. Parks, Playgrounds and School Property: 
Greatly enhancing not only the interest, but the value, of this 
map, are the circles which have been drawn around each 
park and playground as a center. These circles have radii 
of one-quarter and one-half mile, the former showing the 
maximum distance which small children can be expected to 
walk to a playground, and the latter the distance from which 
older children and adults will walk to a park or playground. 
These circles, therefore, define the area of service by Omaha's 
parks and playgrounds. Well provided as the city appears 
to be with recreation areas, it is surprising to observe how 
considerable in extent and in importance, are the sections 
which, outside any circles, are not served directly by park 
or playground — for which, indeed, no such spaces have been 
provided. There are other areas within the circles, which 

— 15 — 

are not served adequately because the parks or playgrounds 
have not yet been fully developed. 

7. Location of the School Population: On this 
map are shown the boundaries of each school district, the 
location of its school house, the amount of ground the prop- 
erty includes, and the number of children whom it attempts 
to serve, each dot representing twenty-five school children. 
It offers an interesting supplement to the Park and Play- 
ground map, for now one can see not only what areas are 
not within practicable reach of a recreation ground, but just 
how many children are deprived of such essential facilities. 

8. Places Where Foodstuffs are Sold: Markets 
of all kinds are here shown, the wholesale and retail being 
differentiated by conventional signs. In this map there is 
material for a local study of some aspects of that pressing 
question — the high cost of living. It was included among the 
city planning data maps because the city efficient, convenient 
and economical, is the goal of the city planners. For a like 
reason, there has been drawn — 

9. A Transit Map: This not only gives all the car 
lines, but indicates where they are single and where double 
track, and the location of the transfer points. Then time- 
lines have been drawn to show what parts of the city can be 
reached in a five-minute, ten-minute, fifteen-minute, twenty- 
minute, twenty-five-minute, and half -hour trip from the city's 
center. The irregularity of these time lines offer striking 
proof of how excellently served some portions of Omaha are, 
and how still deficient in transportation facilities some other 
portions are — one section for instance, which is only a mile 
and a half from the city's center, being as far from it in 
time as are other sections three miles from the center. It is 
interesting, however, and encouraging to note that nearly all 
the area of the city, barring a fringe on the southern and 
northern edges, can be reached in a ride of not over thirty 

10. Contours and Street Gradients: This is prob- 
ably one of the most remarkable city maps ever drawn. 
There are other cities which have contours as difficult and 
streets that are even steeper than Omaha's, but their condi- 
tions are yet to be graphically presented. On this map, 
street grades of less than five per cent are white, five to ten 
per cent are black, and grades above ten per cent are dotted. 

— 16 — 

Even with the fortunate ease with which cuts and fills can 
be made in the rockless earth of Omaha, and notwithstand- 
ing the stupendous scale on which they have been made, the 
white streets are wonderfully few. Most interesting, also, 
is the showing by the contour lines that diagonal thorough- 
fares, running northwest from the business center, might have 
been laid out at an almost even grade to Fort Omaha and 
Miller Park; but the rectangular street plan adopted at the 
beginning, where the ground was comparatively level, has 
been rigidly adhered to from end to end of the city limits, 
regardless of topography, or of costs exacted in construction, 
in energy and in time. Beyond the western limits, and there- 
fore not shown on the map, modern ideas in planning have 
been followed, and there the newer parts of the growing city 
are coming into their own, in the beauty which nature put in 
Omaha's grasp. 

11. Trucking and Automobile Routes: Fully to 
appreciate this map's significance, one must study it with 
the map showing contours and street grades. Only then can 
one realize the extent of the economic tax which is put upon 
all kinds of business in Omaha by the heavy grades. The 
tax is increased by another circumstance, which the map 
shows clearly. This is the remarkable lack of streets which 
go through without a break — usually the one great merit of 
a standardized street plan. In Omaha there are probably 
not six long streets which are continuous from end to end, 
and uniform. Even Twenty-fourth, which is generally 
thought of as a through street, has several jogs and varies 
in width. West of Twenty-fourth there is absolutely no 
through north and south street, and the city limits are more 
than two miles beyond Twenty-fourth. Here certainly is a 
challenging problem for the city planners. 

12. Existing Pavements: Omaha is on the whole, a 
pretty well paved city. With the city's steep grades, mac- 
adam would so soon wash out that it has been necessary to 
lay a great deal of hard pavement. For this purpose brick 
and concrete have been especially utilized, although nearly 
every kind of pavements may be found as the map indicates. 
It is most interesting to check up this map with those showing 
the street grades, and the popular automobile and truck 

— 17 — 

13. Customary and Possible Parking Places for 
Automobiles: The feature of this map is the remarkable 
extent of the parking facilities in the business district. 
Thanks to the pioneer city planners who first laid out the 
streets of that district, and gave them a generous width, 
Omaha has been relieved, to a considerable extent, of one 
of the most serious and baffling of the modern problems of 
city planning. 

14. Possible Connections Between Dead Ends of 
Streets and Possible Widenings: This map constitutes a 
preliminary study of the problem offered by the conditions 
shown in Map Eleven. When it is seen how urgent improve- 
ment is in order that Omaha may gain a system of through 
and adequate thoroughfares, and when it is realized that 
each possibility must be studied in detail, there will be ap- 
preciation of how great a task the city planning of Omaha is, 
and how extended and continuous a process it must be, if it 
is to do for Omaha all that it can do. Fortunately, it will 
be possible to affect a great number of these improvements 
at little or no expense to the community at large. 

15. Railroad Property and Location and Char- 
acter of Railroad Street Crossings: The importance of 
Omaha as a railroad terminal needs no better proof than a 
glance at this map will offer. Great railroad systems stand 
behind the city's commercial future; but the very extent of 
the investments which they have made in Omaha lands, com- 
plicates and adds to the difficulties of the local planning 
problem. The special data map devoted to this subject and 
showing not only the railroad-owned property, but the char- 
acter of every crossing of street and railroad, was required 
by the experts because of their recognition of the extent and 
seriousness of these problems. The ideal of the city planners 
is not the city throttled, but the city built up by railroads. 

16. The Distribution of Property Values: On 
this map black lines divide the city into areas of all sorts of 
shapes and sizes, the areas being determined by the lands 
having a like value per front foot. What these values are, 
approximately, is shown by the figures that are framed in the 
district lines. While for full understanding this map must 
be carefully studied in connection with the data already de- 
scribed, there is much of interest to be read in the map even 
when taken alone. Very significant, for instance, is the 

— 18 — 

sudden rise of values when one reaches the Happy Hollow 
district, with the property restrictions and its modernly plan- 
ned streets; the drop in values which is caused by the prox- 
imity of railroads ; the development of high values far out on 
streets which other data have shown to be destined to traffic 
and business importance; the upward spurt in values on 
lands adjacent to parks; the quick drop where local trans- 
portation facilities are poor; and the very considerable 
amount of close-in property which, of generous depth, can 
still be bought for about $10.00 a front foot. In a city as 
large as Omaha, this latter is most encouraging, for even 
after making allowances for topographical difficulties, the 
condition holds out the promise of a solution of the housing 
problem. As in all the data maps, so in this one particu- 
larly, the more one studies it the more one sees. 

17. Street Lighting Map: Here are shown the loca- 
tion of the street lights of Omaha, with indications of whether 
they are electric or gas. The persistence of gas through the 
middle zone, the streets for which special illumination has 
been provided, the inadequate lighting of portions of the 
boulevards, the occasional dark areas in a city of light — all 
this is interestingly and suggestively laid bare. 

18. Public and Semi-Public Buildings: Churches 
and other places of worship, schools of all kinds, charitable 
institutions of every sort, fire stations and public buildings, 
the units of each group having their own distinguishing mark, 
are located on this map. Embryo neighborhood centers are 
revealed; the location and extent of areas insufficiently pro- 
vided with structures of a public or semi-public character; 
and yet, and most striking of all, the great aggregate of such 
buildings in a progressive modern city, are among the reve- 
lations of the map. 

No one can go over this collection of data maps without 
a strong impression of the worth-whileness of the work, or 
without feeling an increased assurance as to the value of 
plans and recommendations based on a study at once so com- 
prehensive and so thorough. Few cities in the world, per- 
haps not any in the United States, have had their present con- 
ditions so clearly charted as a foundation for a city plan. 
Omaha may now know itself, and can think of itself in a big 
way, realizing that in city planning the whole community, not 
a neighborhood, not a clique, not one street or one interest, 

— 19 — 

or one department of the city government, is the unit. The 
city plan is as inclusive as the city. 


Recognizing the educational value of the data thus se- 
cured and tabulated in graphic form, the City Planning Com- 
mission, on recommendation of the consultants, arranged late 
in 1916 a public exhibition. Space was kindly given for this 
in the corridors of the Court House — a central location — and 
the exhibition, open from December 13th to December 31st, 
inclusive, was visited by thousands of people. The data 
maps were supplemented by enlargements of many of the 
photographs taken by the experts, and with exhibits furnished 
by other departments of the city. This section of the exhibit 
offered a complete view not only of the Omaha of today, but 
of the current preparations for the Omaha of tomorrow. 

In addition, there were two other sections. One com- 
prised a large collection of well prepared city planning 
material which had been obtained from the American City 
Bureau. This was classified according to the subject — as 
transit, playgrounds, etc., and John E. Lathrop of the Bureau 
was in constant attendance, explaining the exhibit. Dur- 
ing his visit, he also aroused wide public interest by his ad- 
dresses to clubs and societies throughout the city. A third 
section, furnished by the consultants, showed city planning 
material arranged according to cities, these screens offering 
a striking view of the progress which other municipalities 
are making. 

Clearly, in the preparation of the series of data maps 
and in the carrying on of the exhibition, the year 1916 saw 
a great deal accomplished. 


At the Commission's request, the experts gave much 
thought and time to the preparation of a 1917 program which 
could be based on the broad foundation thus securely laid. 
The extent and comprehensiveness of the outline will be ap- 
preciated when it is said that twenty-two distinct groups of 
subjects were included. But, unfortunately for the Com- 
mission's hopes, the appropriation by the City Council for 
1917 failed by sixty per cent to meet the budget so carefully 

— 20 — 

prepared. The seriousness of the reduction was in reality 
greater even than appears, for with certain fixed charges, 
such as the salaries of secretary and draughtsmen — to be 
taken out, the Commission found its margin for forward 
work reduced by about seventy-five per cent. A radical 
revision of program was, therefore, necessitated. 

After earnest consideration, it was then decided to take 
up in particular, for 1917, three lines of activity, viz., zon- 
ing or districting; the extension, widening and regrading of 
main traffic streets; and the study of scenic drives and public 
reservations, postponing until later, the many other impor- 
tant phases of a city plan. 

Taking up districting first, because in the view both of 
the consultants and Commission, this promised particular 
benefits to all the people of the city, maps were prepared to 
show: (a) the present use of property — whether for resi- 
dence, industry or trade; (b) the heights of existing build- 
ings; (c) the percentage of lot area covered by buildings; 
and (d) the character and material of existing buildings. 
Meanwhile, the city attorney in consultation with the advisers 
of the Commission, prepared an enabling bill to permit the 
city to form the districts which might be proposed in the plan. 
This bill passed the lower house and up to final vote in the 
senate. No opposition appearing against the bill, its passage 
seemed assured. However, on the last day of the session of 
the Senate, it unexpectedly failed to pass in the rush of final 
consideration of the many bills. Happily, the data contained 
on the maps will be serviceable in other work for Omaha, and 
with little modification, will be again available for districting 
studies when that fundamental city planning operation shall 
at last be authorized. 

We did get legislation extending the city's control of 
the platting of new additions three miles outside the city 
limits; the right to grade several intersecting streets in one 
grading district where a majority petition for it; and some 
additional power, but not sufficient, to open or widen streets. 
The old limitation of $50,000 maximum cost of any such 
improvement that may be carried out by the Council, was 
raised to $100,000, in cases where the Planning Commission 
recommend it, and the special benefit tax may be paid in 
five annual installments, instead of all in one payment. 

— 21 — 

In all the work at the Legislature, we must acknowl- 
edge the hearty support of business and civic organizations, 
even though some of them would be directly restricted by 
these laws. The Commercial Club, Real Estate Board, 
Building Owners' and Managers' Association, Improvement 
Clubs, the press, and the public generally worked with us 

The Commission and its consultants now turned to the 
other features of the program — the platting of a major street 
system and of scenic drives and reservations. 

An idea of the speed and thoroughness with which this 
work was now pushed, is afforded by a glance at the maps 
which relate to it. For the traffic studies there were under 
way by May maps showing street widths, roadway widths, 
age of pavements, ungraded streets, building setbacks, the 
location of street trees, and traffic counts. For the scenic 
drives, tentative routes were laid out, after careful consider- 
ation of grades and views. For the reservations, areas are 
being designated for acquisition as viewpoints, outlooks, 
parks and playgrounds, and for the preservation of natural 
scenery. The purpose is to insure to all the people of Oma- 
ha, and to its visitors, the enjoyment of some of the natural 
beauty with which the city is endowed. 


The Commission does not forget in all its work, nor do 
its consultants, that the Nation has entered into war. In- 
quiry has been made as to the attitude of Commissions in 
other cities and even abroad. It is found that, as a conse- 
quence of war, city planning everywhere is regarded as an 
even more vital and pressing subject than before. Stricken 
France is actually taking up today on a great scale, the plan- 
ning and re-planning of her cities, because she has learned 
that in municipal, as in other affairs, economy and the pre- 
vention of waste can be secured only by planning. In Oma- 
ha, in this time of national crisis, there is no more urgent 
need than the prevention of waste in the movement of the 
people, in the handling and movement of goods, and in the 
development and use of land. With this thought in mind, 
earnest study has proceeded for the provision of the best 
practicable traffic ways. 

— 22 — 

As the Commission said, in closing its report to the 
Council at the end of 1916: 

"Omaha is rapidly becoming one of the great metro- 
politan cities of the country. Population statistics show that 
within thirty years, it will have a population of at least half 
a million. The city must be prepared to meet this growth 
with an adequate system of thoroughfares and transit lines; 
with generous railroad and water front facilities; with ade- 
quate and well distributed places for recreation, and with 
reasonable control over private property in the interest of 
the community as a whole. Your various departments are 
doing excellent work, each in their respective line, but the 
problems are multiplying rapidly and becoming constantly 
more complex and interdependent. Omaha can no longer 
afford to fritter away its energy on petty details. It is ready 
to face the big things. It is no longer a child; it is ready to 
look at things with a man's point of view." 

George B. Ford, 

E. P. Goodrich, 

Chas. Mulford Robinson. 





Elimination of Grade Crossing 
on the Belt Line Railway 

The City Planning Commission has studied at con- 
siderable length, all of the questions involved in the elimina- 
tion of the railroad grade crossings of the major streets by 
the Omaha Belt Line. In our communication to the City 
Council of July 18, 1916, we recommended the elevation of 
the tracks from Dodge Street to Farnam Street, as the plan 
most advantageous to the city and to the adjacent property. 
In adopting this scheme, the city practically settled upon the 
course to follow in eliminating the balance of the grade cross- 
ings. The topography of the country, the need of the in- 
dustries and yards along the Belt Line, and the operating 
needs of the Railroad Company, further indicate this. 

The Railroad Company's aim must be to flatten the 
grades in order to insure more economic operation. This will 
benefit the patrons and the city will be the gainer, as the 
improvement will be the means of doing away with some of 
the noise and heavy smoke. 

The following fundamental considerations have dictated 
our solution of the problem: The development of the plan 
for improvement should be laid out in such a manner that 
it can be executed progressively, at a reasonable cost, to the 
best advantage of the abutting property owners, and to the 
city as a whole. 

Our drawing No. 1, showing the present and proposed 
top of rail of the Belt Line, shows that it is proposed to 
elevate the tracks from 16th Street to Ruggles Street; to ele- 
vate them from Cuming Street to the present elevation at 
Dodge Street, and to elevate them from Farnam Street to a 
point south of Pacific Street on the South Omaha branch 
line. The main line will be elevated from Dewey Avenue 
to the south of Center Street. The Railroad Company will 
probably, of its own accord, make a cut at Center Street on 
the South Omaha connection, and at Hamilton Street, extend- 
ing in each case north and south to meet the proposed eleva- 
tion. This improvement does not enter into our grade cross- 
ing elimination plan, because the major streets there already 
are separated from the railroad. 

— 27 — 

In proposing the elimination of only a few grade cross- 
ings, we do not contend that the intermediate crossings should 
not be eliminated. Our contention is that after the major 
street crossings are abolished, it is merely a local affair to do 
away with others as the need arises in the various locations. 

We wish to caution against closing or vacating any street 
now crossing the Belt Line until a complete study of the 
street system has been made. The time might come when the 
street will be wanted and when an elimination of grade cross- 
ing at that point will be urgently needed. 

Under the plan, the railroad grade crossings of the fol- 
lowing major streets, are to be eliminated: 

1. Commecial Avenue, 

2. Florence Boulevard, 

3. Twenty-fourth Street, 

4. Twenty-seventh Street, 

5. Thirtieth Street, 

6. Sprague Street, 

7. Bedford Avenue, 

8. Thirty-sixth Street, 

9. Lake Street, 

10. Fortieth Street, 

11. Saddle Creek Road leading northwest, 

12. California Street, 

13. Dewey Avenue, 

14. Saddle Creek Road leading southwest, 

15. Forty-second Street, 

16. Leavenworth Street, 

17. Pacific Street, 

18. Arbor Street, 

19. Vinton Street. 

On the main line from Dewey Avenue south: 

1. Leavenworth Street, 

2. Forty-eighth Street, 

3. Pacific Street, 

4. Fifty-second Street, 

5. Center Street, 

6. Sixtieth Street, 

7. Boulevard connection between Hanscom Park 
and Elmwood Park. 

— 28- 








i ! 





1 -. 

^ ifl 

Profile of the Belt Line showing the present 

of rail, and the proposed track elevation. 

The elimination of the grade crossings at Lake and For- 
tieth Streets may not be required for many years. When 
the times does come that Lake Street and Fortieth Street have 
developed into efficient east-west and north-south major 
streets, a separation of grade may be deemed advisable in 
spite of the heavy expense caused by property damage. 

At present, the topography of this section of the city, 
and the fact that both Lake Street and Fortieth Street are 
merely local traffic streets, make it almost more desirable to 
maintain the grade crossings than to eliminate them. 

— 29 — 

Boulevards and Drives 

It may be said that the dignity and beauty of a city 
depends, to a large extent, on its boulevards and scenic drives. 
Yet, it cannot be expected that Omaha can afford a compre- 
hensive boulevard system unless it pursues a steady and con- 
tinous policy in acquiring and developing them. 

Omaha with a population of 215,000 now has a park 
area of approximately 991 acres, and a boulevard system 
35 miles long. The boulevards, however, are lacking in con- 
tinuity at various places, and in particular afford no con- 
nection between Hanscom Park and Elmwood Park. To 
remedy these conditions, the following suggestions are 
offered : 

1. A connection between Hanscom Park and Elmwood 
Park by extending Woolworth Avenue through the County 
Poor Farm, and thence in a southwesterly direction to the 
intersection of Forty-fifth Street and Center Street, as pre- 
viously has been suggested by the Superintendent of Parks 
and Boulevards. From this point, it is suggested that Center 
Street constitute the boulevard to a point where it crosses 
the Missouri Pacific tracks. Thence the boulevard would 
follow Saddle Creek in a southwesterly direction to the junc- 
tion between the Missouri Pacific Railroad and the Chicago 
& Northwestern Railroad. There it would turn northwest- 
ward, crossing the Missouri Pacific Railway, and follow the 
Little Papillion to its intersection with the Happy Hollow 
Creek. Thence it would proceed northeasterly to Elmwood 
Park. Where Center Street is used from Forty-fifth Street 
to the crossing of the Missouri Pacific, a widening should be 
affected, this widening to include the creek bed along the 
street which now is useless for anything but boulevard prop- 
erty. Attention is called to the fact that the property which 
it is proposed to acquire along the various creeks for the 
construction of the boulevard, will at some later time, be 
needed by the Engineering Department for the construction 
of sewers. It is the opinion of the Planning Commission, 
that a boulevard route proposed above, using part of the 
way one of the principal streets leading to the city, and 
farther out, located in a beautiful valley, and in other places 
passing through the wooded lands along the picturesque 
creeks, would be an admirable boulevard link, and useful 

— 30 — 

Sarpy county 







Solid black: — Present parks and boulevards. 
Dotted black: — Proposed extensions. 

Cross-hatched area: — Part of the city fairly well equipped with boulevards 
when extensions are completed. 

to the city as a whole, because its construction will be inex- 
pensive, and its route logical. This route also has the ad- 
vantage of preceding the development of the district. A 
shorter connection between Hanscom Park and Elmwood 
Park has been suggested, but not enough study has been given 
such a route to determine its feasibility. 

2. A distinct boulevard connection to be made be- 
tween Bemis Park and the beginning of John A. Creighton 
Boulevard at Hamilton Street by means of Thirty-eighth 
Street. As it is now, Creighton Boulevard, with its many 
possibilities, is very little used, to the detriment of the prop- 
erty along it. Consequently, it is an expense to the city with- 
out bringing adequate returns. 

3. Florence Boulevard at its termination at Chicago 
Street to be continued south on Nineteenth Street to Jackson 
Street at such time as the Dodge Street hill is cut; then east 
on Jackson Street to its intersection with Bellevue Boulevard, 
thus connecting two separate boulevards and avoiding the 
confusion in pleasure traveling through the central part of 
the city. The parts of Jackson Street and Nineteenth Street 
mentioned above do not necessarily need to be declared a 
boulevard with accompanying restrictions. The Commis- 
sion's idea is only that there be boulevard features such as 
special ornamental lights, or other distinctive features, to in- 
dicate that it is a boulevard connection. 

4. The intersection of Bellevue Boulevard (Eleventh 
Street) and Bancroft Street to be made safe and more digni- 
fied by acquiring additional property on the northeast cor- 

5. Thirty-second Avenue from Woolworth Avenue to 
Ed. Creighton Avenue and Ed. Creighton Avenue from 
Thirty-second Avenue to Hanscom Boulevard, are now exten- 
sively used as a boulevard connection in preference to Hans- 
com Park, with its steep grades and sharp curves. The use 
of this connection ought to be facilitated by correcting the 
southwest corner of Hanscom Park, where Ed. Creighton Av- 
enue intersects Thirty-second Avenue, and the southwest cor- 
ner of Hanscom Boulevard and Ed. Creighton Avenue. 

The improvements and new construction mentioned 
above will, together with the present boulevards, give the city 
a complete inside boulevard system as shown on our map. 

— 33 — 

In addition to these improvements, considerable time 
has been spent by the Commission in the study of an exten- 
sion of Florence Boulevard north, and of a boulevard extend- 
ing from Dorcas Street and Tenth Street south to Child's 
Point. In themselves, these are independent boulevards, yet 
they are a part of a future comprehensive outside boule- 
vard system, and we submit the following notes on them: 


Florence Boulevard ends now rather abruptly on the 
north at Read Street. An extension would be possible in a 
northwesterly direction on the low lands west of the Chi- 
cago & Northwestern Railroad, crossing under the railroad 
at Scott Street. The present railroad bridge at this point 
should be rebuilt when the boulevard is constructed. From 
this point the boulevard would run in a northeasterly direc- 
tion until it intersects the abandoned Chicago & Northwestern 
track, and thence along the abandoned track through the 
Metropolitan Water District's property, where an admirable 
boulevard drive already is a reality, connecting with the 
River Road to Blair, north of the Pumping Station. 


One of the most interesting scenic views of Omaha is 
to be found in the slopes on the west side of the Missouri 
River, extending from Dorcas Street south to Child's Point. 
At almost any point along this stretch, (which is approxi- 
mately four miles in length,) one views fertile farm land, a 
wide, interesting river in which the sky, the hills, and the 
distance are reflected, and around it all is the sky line of 
distant forest clad hillsides. Nature has not made these 
slopes suitable for farming, but has made them beautiful, 
and most of them still are covered with forest. Since this 
land has little commercial value, it could be acquired at 
slight cost, and should be preserved in a state of nature. 
Such a preservation would have scientific value, both in re- 
spect to forestry and to wild life. But, above all, it would 
have priceless value for those who live in or visit Omaha. 
Within half an hour they could pass from the bustle of the 
city to the seclusion of the forest. 

— 34 — 


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The route mentioned above may be divided into four 
distinct parts, as follows: 

From Dorcas Street to Riverview Park, 
From Riverview Park to J Street, 
From J Street to Mandan Park, 
From Mandan Park to Child's Point. 


The route for the drive from Dorcas Street to Riverview 
Park has been studied and a map has been prepared show- 
ing its approximate location, but the need of more intensive 
studies prohibits a definite recommendation in this report. 


The Superintendent of Parks and Boulevards has made 
a survey of a proposed drive from Riverview Park to J Street. 
This section in itself would hardly be worth while unless it 
constitutes a part of continuous drive from Riverview Park 
to Mandan Park. As such, it is well located, and will be an 
admirable part of the South River Drive. 


The route from J Street to Mandan Park has been studied 
carefully by the Commission. The absence of contour maps 
east of Thirteenth Street has made it impossible to establish 
a definite location, but enough information is on hand to 
recommend an approximate location. The City Planning 
Commission recommends that sufficient land be acquired 
from J Street to Mandan Park, to construct a drive approxi- 
mating the accompanying plan. It is further recommended 
that enough land be acquired to protect such drives and pre- 
serve the view and their usefulness for all time to come. 
To obtain this object, it will be necessary to acquire or con- 
trol all land from the proposed drive east to the river, and 
from Missouri Avenue south to the city limits, except the 
railroad right-of-way. 

In connection with acquiring this property, it is sug- 
gested that steps be taken to acquire or control the island in 
the Missouri River south of Riverview Park, as a bird reserve 
for all time to come. The boulevard property, the Island 

— 39 — 

and the Audubon Society's Reserve on Child's Point, which 
has been promoted by the Fontenelle Forest Association, will 
then be of national importance as a resting and nesting place 
for the migrating and domestic birds. Properly developed, 
this whole South River Drive will be a strikingly attractive 
feature of Omaha's development, far surpassing in scenic 
interest, the famous Cliff Drive of Kansas City. 


The route from Mandan Park to Child's Point is outside 
Douglas County, and will not be discussed in this report 
except to suggest better connections between the proposed 
drive and the Fort Crook Boulevard at points where the loop 
entering the park joins Harrison Street. By widening an 
existing alley for half a block, the southwest corner of the 
park may be connected to the Fort Crook Boulevard, by 
cutting off the sharp corner at Thirteenth Street, and Harri- 
son Street, a direct connection is provided from the River 
Drive to Fort Crook Boulevard, for travel not wishing to de- 
tour through the park. 




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View from Mandan Park looking- northeast. 

Missouri River at Sarpy County line looking- southeast. 

This is one of the many magnificent sights the proposed Thirteenth Street 
Boulevard will reveal. 

A broad, unspoiled piece of forest-clad land will be between the proposed 
Thirteenth Street Boulevard and the river. 

Vista near Thirteenth and "W" Streets from the proposed Boulevard, show- 
ing- a ravine in its virgin beauty. 

Belt Traffic Ways 


The Missouri Pacific Railroad in constructing what is 
known as the Belt Line, sought a natural route by easy grade 
around what was then the outer part of the city, and in those 
early days, little attention was given it. Gradually the resi- 
dence district developed out to it, and beyond it, until now 
the railroad route is practically through the middle of the 
residence section. If the railroad were not already there, 
it is a question if the city would desire to have it in its pres- 
ent location, but with conditions as they are, we should 
minimize its objectionable features to the residence district as 
much as possible, and take advantage of the great service it 
renders as distributor of materials needed by the city, as a 
creator of splendid locations for industries and factories. 

As a distributor of building materials and coal, this 
railroad shortens the expensive haul by wagon or truck 
through the streets, which makes possible a saving in cost of 
delivery to the consumer. It clears the street of much unde- 
sirable traffic, and saves much wear and tear on street pave- 
ments. The saving to each citizen individually may be small, 
but in the aggregate it is immense. 

As a creator of industrial sites, it makes possible the 
location of factories, with good housing facilities close at 
hand. Needless to say that this is of great importance for the 
efficient factory of today. 

At present the values of real estate in the district along 
the Belt Line, are low, with about 75 per cent of the land un- 
improved. It has not been wanted for residence purposes, 
and it seems to have lacked something fotf industrial use. 
Only a little study is necessary to see that what it lacks pri- 
marily, is street accessibility. Although there are frequent 
platted streets, many because of location or steep grades are 
not suitable for traffic. 

The thing needed is a street or traffic way following the 
same natural route that the railroad follows. This would 
make a street with an easy grade which nowhere exceeds 
four per cent, and for the most part, is below three per cent ; 

— 47 — 

in some places hugging up close to the railroad, and in 
others, leaving a block or more industrial property between 
it and the railroad. This traffic way will incidentally define 
and make more fixed, the line of division between the in- 
dustrial property on one side, and the residence property on 
the other, thus helping both to develop. 

It is interesting to note that without having any idea or 
suggestion of a continuous Belt Line Street, and in spite of 
the frequent streets and alleys platted in arbitrary checker- 
board fashion, traffic sought this natural route and teamsters 
cut across private property or along the railroad right-of- 
way, making use of several short pieces of this proposed 
route. Later on as it became necessary to build sewers in 
these districts, the engineer in charge of that work found 
it necessary to follow this natural route, and then the city 
acquired short sections of it by condemnation of private 
property. Several pieces of this sewer right-of-way, which 
was gotten in a strip about sixty feet wide, are in existence 
as follows: From Emmett to Maple; from Lake to Fortieth; 
from Blondo to Seward, and Saddle Creek from about Cali- 
fornia to Poppleton Avenue on the main line of the Missouri 
Pacific. The present proposal is to link together these sec- 
tions and some parts of present streets that fit in, making 
an Inner Belt Traffic Way twelve miles long. We now have 
seven and one-half miles of it. The parts yet to be acquired 
are through low priced property. 

Aside from the benefit to the district locally, the general 
traffic of the city will find this an easy and convenient cut- 
off across districts now difficult to get through, and thus it 
will save a great deal of energy and time to the public at 
large. The whole city will also benefit by having this dis- 
trict opened and developed to produce a much larger share 
of the city tax revenues. 


The outer Belt Line Railroad, (C. & N. W. R. R.) may 
at some future time, prove to be a valuable asset to the city. 
Along this railroad there is splendid future possibility for 
establishing large industries and yards, and now is the time 
to plan for a Traffic Way along the natural, easy grade route 
of that railroad. The reason for, and need of the Inner Belt 
Traffic Way apply as certainly to this Outer Belt, but are not 

-48 — 

Office of 

City Planning Commission 


Plan Showing 

Inner Belt Traffic Way 


Major Street System 

Inside the Belt Railway 

Sept I9I7 

The movement of vehicular traffic will be greatly benefited by the develop- 
ment of the Inner Belt Traffic Way. 

yet as pressing. The indications are that development of this 
Outer Belt district, once opened up and started, will be rapid. 
This railroad may be called upon to furnish electric passen- 
ger service to a large suburban district. 

We have, therefore, planned an Outer Belt Traffic Way, 
as follows: 

Commercial Avenue to be extended north of Ames Av- 
enue, joining Redman Avenue by connecting up various 
isolated streets, and alleys as shown on the plan. Redman 
Avenue is then used to Fiftieth Street. From this point, 
an extension is proposed following the railroad to the north, 
and to the west of the city, and then southward until inter- 
secting the present Grover Street. This street is then used 
and connected with Vinton Street by way of a diagonal street. 
Vinton Street in turn forms the connection with Sixteenth 
Street, thus completing the loop. This Traffic Way will be 
practically level in its entire length, except in the south part 
of town, where the steepest grade hardly will exceed three 
per cent. It should be of ample width to permit a future 
widening of the driveway, as the district develops. 

— 51 — 

Major Streets 

The streets of a city divide themselves into two great 
groups — major and minor. These terms apply, not to their 
length, nor to their importance in the rounded life of the city, 
but simply to their traffic value. Thus "minor" streets are 
streets of relatively little traffic value, being those which have 
their greatest usefulness in providing a place for quiet resi- 
dence rather than in facilitating the flow of traffic. These 
will be considered in a later report. 

The term "major" streets, therefore, is to be understood 
in the following discussion as applying, not as might be sup- 
posed, simply to the greater streets of the city; but to the 
streets of greater traffic importance. While these are usually 
long and arterial, they may quite often be short or may be 
only parts of streets. The test is merely that they shall be 
of especial traffic use. This may be by linking up important 
thoroughfares, or by providing short cuts for traffic, or by 
affording channels of such easy grade as to facilitate its 
movement. In any of these cases, they can be considered as 
major streets. 

Unlike many other cities, Omaha has not had a tendency 
to take a circular form. This is largely due to topographical 
conditions, but also in part to annexations north and south. 
As a result, Omaha has an extreme length compared with 
its width, and has thus practically eliminated the highly de- 
sirable radial thoroughfares. 

The railroads entered Omaha and built their lines a 
long time before the town realized its destiny of becoming 
a metropolitan city. The railroads follow the natural depres- 
sions and thus we have today, the main part of the city and 
vicinity west, roughly speaking, divided by two eccentric cir- 
cles touching each other on the east side. Along this point 
of contact, which is Sixteenth Street, is the intensive business 
section, extending less intensively around the Inner Belt Line 
(M. P. Ry.), and with room for future expansion along the 
Outer Belt Line, (C. & N. W. R. R.). It is evident that 
should these circular railroad lines perform their functions 
properly, and be made an asset and a benefit to the city, 
proper streets should be developed paralleling the railroads 
as proposed under the heading of "Belt Traffic Ways." 

— 52 — 

These Belt Traffic Ways, paralleling the railroads, will greatly facilitate 
the development of industries, and will become basic streets for the future 
growth of the citj r . 


Intersecting these proposed circular traffic ways, are the 
major streets north-south and east-west, the Boulevards and 
the radial streets. 

As a general rule, it is not considered imperative to 
transform all major north-south streets into through streets. 
The central east-west major streets form a natural division 
between the north and the south, and to these streets the travel 
drifts to a large extent. By looking at the proposed City 
Plan, it will be seen that a number of major streets come 
from the north and south just far enough to connect with 
some central east-west streets. The topography of the coun- 
try, the incorrect laying out of additions, and the expense, 
make it unpracticable to obtain all through streets. 

The City Planning Commission considers it of the ut- 
most importance to work out a fixed plan for the major street 
system in the suburban district, and have this plan officially 
recognized in order to avoid indiscriminate platting and the 
consequences of an occasional lack of foresight. There has 
been a tendency in Omaha for the subdivider to plat his 
piece of ground without due regard to the needs of the whole 
city. A fixed policy in major street planning in the suburbs, 
will, therefore, be of great economic value to the city when 
the time comes for actual development. 

It is recommended further that the city require those who 
are using a part of the public street, as far at least, as major 
streets are concerned, for their own convenience, to remove 
encroachments at their own expense, thus giving the public 
the full benefit of the street width. 

Such, in brief outline, is the frame-work of the new 
city plan designed to provide for the future growth of the 
city, as well as the stability of present values. To realize 
the ideal of this report, will take a number of years, and con- 
siderable money, but it is the opinion of this Commission 
that the improvements can be affected gradually by follow- 
ing a fixed policy over a period of years. As the develop- 
ment of the city proceeds, however, changes of the plan may 
be advisable. 

— 55 — 

North-South Major Streets 

(Beginning at the extreme east side of the City) 


When the clay banks in the vicinity of Second Street 
and Dorcas Street have been absorbed in the manufacture 
of brick, Second Street will be a passable street from Pierce 
Street to Dorcas Street. A widening is, therefore, recom- 
mended between Hickory Street and Woolworth Avenue. 


Fourth Street from Pierce Street to Florence Street will 
be a very useful street when the clay banks mentioned under 
"Second Street" have been graded down. A slight correc- 
tion of alignment at Pine Street may be advisable. 


Sixth Street between Pierce Street and Bancroft Street, 
is now quite an important north-south street through a dis- 
trict where good streets are not frequent. The street has a 
sufficient width and a good grade to meet future demands. 


Seventh Street between Jackson Street and Pierce Street 
intersects the lower wholesale district, and is considerably 
used. Being of ample width, it is able to take care of a 
much greater amount of traffic than that which is now using 
it. This street, in connection with Sixth Street from Pierce 
Street to Bancroft Street, offers a good traffic thoroughfare 
from Jackson Street to Bancroft Street. 


Eighth Street north of Davenport Street, and connected 
with the latter by a short diagonal street, is now open and in 
use to Seward Street. From this point, it is proposed to plan 
an extension north along the railroad yards, connecting with 
the diagonal street through Winspear Triangle. The useful- 
ness of Eighth Street will then be greatly increased, and give 

— 56 — 

relief to a growing industrial district. It will be also a direct 
artery to the city-owned Winspear Triangle which has been 
set aside for municipal docks. 


Parts of Ninth Street constitute a major street from Fort 
Street to the proposed diagonal extension of Plant Street in 
Florence. It will aid the development of the north bottoms 
and prove to be a useful street. In the central part of the 
city, Ninth Street has already established itself as a major 
street. South of Riverview Park and east of the tracks, it 
may be developed when improvements in this district war- 
rant it. It may be connected with Tenth Street, as shown on 
the Plan, crossing the railroad tracks at Homer Street. 


Tenth Street now constitutes the approach from the rail- 
road depots to the business part of the city. It extends south 
to Hugo Street where it stops abruptly. We recommend that 
it be connected with Miller Street by way of a curved street 
about half a block long, and that Mid-City Avenue, which is 
a continuation of Miller Street, be extended from Twelfth 
Street to Thirteenth Street, thus giving the district south of 
Deer Park Boulevard and east of Thirteenth Street, a direct 
outlet north and south to the major street system. Eventu- 
ally, a widening may be necessary from D Street to Hugo 
Street, and along all of Mid-City Avenue. 


Eleventh Street between Nicholas Street and Avenue 
"H" (Iowa) is another short street which is much used, and 
is an important factor in the development of the industrial 
district north of the Union Pacific Railroad shops. No 
changes are proposed for this street, except a future exten- 
sion north to Locust Street. 


East of Twenty-fourth Street, Thirteenth Street is the 
only through north-south street which begins in the central 
part of the city, and extends south beyond the city limits. 

— 57 — 

Its width is ninety feet or more from the central part of the 
city to "Y" Street; from "Y" Street to the city limits it is 
sixty feet. Should the street car line be extended from Mis- 
souri Avenue south, it is recommended that when the develop- 
ments require it, Thirteenth Street from "Y" Street to the 
south city limits be widened to ninety feet. The beauty of 
the river views from this street will increase the volume of 
travel on it. The grade of the street from "Y" Street south 
may be slightly changed to advantage in various places. 


One of the principal north-south streets in Omaha today, 
is Sixteenth Street, the north part of which is called Sherman 
Avenue. Its lack of connections at both ends has a tendency 
to react against getting the full benefit of it as a thorough- 
fare. It is recommended that Sixteenth Street be connected 
at its north end with the extension of Plant Street in Florence, 
and that the south end be connected with a diagonal street, 
running in a southeasterly direction west of the German 
Home, and joining Thirteenth Street. The present width of 
Sixteenth Street is considered sufficient. 


Seventeenth Street from Leavenworth Street to Grace 
Street will at some future time, be considerably more used 
in its entire length than at present, on account of its good 
grade and its location. The proposed improvement in the 
grade at St. Mary's Avenue is the only one required. 


No north-south street in the city has probably more 
travel than Eighteenth Street from the center of the city to 
Ohio Street. Its abrupt stop at Ohio reduces its efficiency. 
It is, therefore, recommended to improve the connection to 
Seventeenth Street, thus getting a through street to Commer- 
cial Avenue. A slight correction at this point is required, 
in order to obtain a direct connection. 

The proposed improvement in grade of St. Mary's Av- 
enue and Dodge Street will further establish Eighteenth 
Street as an important major street. 

— 58 — 


Twentieth Street is now an important street, and if the 
Dodge Street and St. Mary's Avenue changes of grade are 
carried out, as proposed, it will unquestionably be much 
traveled, and will be a very serviceable street for the dis- 
trict between Sixteenth and Twenty-fourth Streets, and from 
Spring Lake Park to Florence Boulevard, (Ohio Street). 

It is suggested that Twentieth Street be widened from 
Leavenworth Street to Dodge Street, as shown on the tentative 
plan on file in this office. From Harney Street to Dodge 
Street, a widening is especially needed because of the pres- 
ence of double street car tracks. At present the nearest street 
on the west is Twenty-fourth street, but even with Twenty- 
second Street opened, as recommended, the block on the west 
of Twentieth Street will be practically as long as two down- 
town city blocks. With the widening of Twentieth Street, 
the opening of Twenty-second and the widening of Twenty- 
fourth Street as planned, this district will have only half the 
street facilities of the district east of Twentieth Street. 


Twenty-second Street from Woolworth Avenue to How- 
ard Street may be made a useful street if opened from 
Howard Street to Dodge Street. This extension to the north 
is needed to break the long blocks between Twentieth Street 
and Twenty -fourth Street. At its south end, it will connect 
with the proposed Inner Belt Traffic Way, so serving as an 
outlet for the present and future industries in that vicinity. 


Twenty-fourth Street is one of the principal north-south 
streets of the city, but because of its present inadequate width 
in places and its abrupt termination at Read Street, much 
of the traffic from the north, which would otherwise use the 
street, is forced to find accommodations elsewhere. In con- 
nection with Railroad Avenue, it is the natural main 
thoroughfare for all traffic from the eastern part of Sarpy 
County going north, and by making a diagonal connection 
from Read Street to Thirtieth Street in Florence, along the 
present unplatted valley, a through Twenty-fourth Street is 

— 59 — 

secured. This will prevent a future congestion on Thirtieth 
Street south of Florence. 

It is recommended that Twenty-fourth Street be widened 
from Pacific Street to Cuming Street, as the present width is 
insufficient to carry the traffic already there. This widening 
is one of the most expensive improvements in the contemp- 
lated major street plan, but it is justified on the grounds that 
Twenty-fourth Street will be the principal north-south 
thoroughfare in the city. Detailed plans and approximate 
estimates of the cost of the proposed widening, have been 
prepared, and are on file in the Planning Commission's office. 
At present, there is no law under which the work can be 
carried out, without submitting the plan to a vote of the 
people. The grade crossing at the Belt Line on the north, 
should be eliminated as shown on the Belt Line plans. 


It is considered advisable to make Twenty-seventh Street 
from Miller Park to Hamilton Street a major street. This 
district between Twenty-fourth Street and Thirtieth Street is 
thickly populated and has a considerable number of dead- 
end streets. This condition makes it desirable to have a 
through street intersecting the district which shall connect at 
its south end with a major east-west street. To accomplish 
this, it is recommended that Twenty-seventh Street be ex- 
tended from Bristol to Binney Street, a distance of about a 
quarter of a mile, and its grade crossing at the Belt Line 
eliminated. The street needs widening from Spaulding 
Street to the alley north of Spaulding Street. 

From Hamilton Street to Farnam Street, Twenty-seventh 
Street has partly disappeared. From Farnam Street south 
to "Sheely," it is a distinct and much used street, and serves 
as an admirable connection between the Sheely district and 
the industries along the U. P. R. R. to the central part of 
the city. A correction at Dewey Avenue should be affected, 
as shown on the plan. 

PARK AVENUE— (Twenty-Ninth Avenue) 

Park Avenue is today a major street, with a width suffi- 
cient to accommodate the traffic. 

— 60 -. 


Thirtieth Street is now used by a great amount of traffic 
in the northern part of the city, and is a principal inlet from 
the north. At the same time, it is the only direct connection 
Florence has with the central part of the city. This connec- 
tion, however, is very much broken and undefined. Under 
present conditions, the traffic south congests, or will congest 
Twenty-fourth Street, Florence Boulevard and Eighteenth 
Street to an extent which will prove serious in not very many 
years. It is, therefore, recommended that Thirtieth Street 
be widened from Yates Street to Parker Street, opened from 
Parker Street to Seward Street, widened from Seward Street 
to Indiana Avenue, and opened from Indiana Avenue to Cum- 
ing Street, thus making Thirtieth Street a broad through street 
from the north city limits to the central east-west streets. It 
is also recommended that the street be widened where the 
old city limits joined Florence, the street car tracks moved 
over to the center of the street, and the grade crossing elimin- 
ated at the Belt Line. A widening may later be necessary 
from Farnam Street to Dodge Street where the width now is 
only thirty-three feet. 


Thirty-second Avenue from Woolworth Avenue to "A" 
Street, is at the present time, a major street and should be 
maintained as such. It will in the City Plan, serve an im- 
portant function, having connection at "A" Street with the 
proposed Inner Belt Traffic Way, and farther south with the 
Stock Yard district as Dahlman Boulevard. 


Dahlman Boulevard or street as it should be more prop- 
erly called, is the most logical approach from the north to the 
Stock Yards, and to the thickly populated district surround- 
ing it. Its connection with "0" Street through the Stock 
Yards on the south, and with the proposed Inner Belt Traffic 
Way, makes it a valuable connecting street between two sep- 
arated parts of the city. It is recommended that a connection 
be made between Dahlman Boulevard and Thirty-sixth Street 
just south of the tracks, as shown on the Plan. Where Dahl- 

— 61 — 

man Boulevard joins the proposed Inner Belt Traffic Way, a 
correction should be made at the southwest corner. 


Between Thirtieth and Fortieth Streets in the central 
part of the city, there is at the present time no through north- 
south street. The inconvenience to the people living in this 
district or doing business there, is apparent. Thirty-third 
Street from Center Street to John A. Creighton Boulevard, 
can easily be developed into a major street by an extension of 
half a block from Maple Street to the Boulevard, and grad- 
ing from Leavenworth Street to Jackson Street. The street 
at this point is now open, but the grade prohibits travel. To 
obtain a satisfactory grade, the Boulevard at the intersection 
of Jackson Street should be raised slightly. Incidentally, 
this action will improve the grade of the boulevard. 


North of Hamilton Street and south of Center Street it is 
recommended to develop Thirty-Sixth Street northward and 
southward as a major street. At Corby Street it will connect 
with the Inner Belt Traffic Way, and with the boulevard, thus 
giving the north part of the city and the western part of Flor- 
ence a direct connection with many of the main streets. Vari- 
ous openings and widenings will have to be made in order 
to get a through street from Hamilton Street north, running 
through the western part of Florence and connecting with the 
paved road to Briggs. An elimination of the grade crossing 
at the Belt Line and a street viaduct over the Northwestern R. 
R. tracks at Redman Avenue is recommended. Beginning in 
Sarpy County to the south, Thirty-sixth Street now extends 
to Wright Street. An extension to Center Street, paralleling 
the Belt Line on the west side, and a street viaduct over the 
Burlington tracks at "I" Street, are recommended. This will 
give a large territory in the south part of town, and Sarpy 
County, a through street, connecting with several east-west 


Fortieth Street from Hamilton to Dodge is now consid- 
ered a main thoroughfare. By making a few minor correc- 

— 62 — 

tions at various intersections, Fortieth Street can be made a 
good north-south major street from Redman Avenue to the 
Inner Belt Traffic Way. North of Leavenworth Street, the 
grade crossings of the Belt Line at Lake Street may at some 
future time be eliminated. 


Forty-second Street from Redick Avenue to Military 
avenue serves a district now under development. At present 
it stops at Seward Street without giving the traffic a chance 
for an outlet southward. A one block extension to Military 
Avenue at the intersection of Charles Street, will provide this. 
A widening is needed on the east side of the State Mute In- 
stitute. Other minor corrections will be required in the same 

South of Dodge Street, Forty-second Street has prac- 
tically established itself as a major street and ought to be 
maintained as such; a viaduct at "Q" Street across the Bur- 
lington tracks and minor corrections and widenings are 


Forty-eighth Street is a continuation of a section line 
road in Sarpy County, and, running straight north to Redick 
Avenue, is one of the longest north-south streets in the city. 

It is recommended that the railroad grade crossing at 
Leavenworth Street be eliminated; that the street be given 
a uniform width of at least sixty-six feet, and that all exten- 
sions and connections observe the present alignment. 


Fifty-second street is now an important north-south street 
from Kansas Avenue to Center Street. At its north end it 
connects with the proposed Outer Belt Traffic Way. A cor- 
rection at Leavenworth Street and a few grade changes will 
make it a major street of great importance. The elimina- 
tion of the grade crossing at the Belt Line Railway north of 
Center Street is recommended. 


South of Leavenworth Street, Sixtieth Street is a well 
established and considerably used street, connecting with the 
Sarpy Mills road to Papillion. The grade crossings are 

— 63 — 

eliminated except that of the Missouri Pacific, which should 
be eliminated at some future time. 

The principle laid down in the beginning of this report 
that all north-south major streets need not be through streets, 
is here illustrated. The existing conditions in the district 
from Leavenworth Street to north of Hamilton Street along 
the line of Sixtieth Street, make it necessary to stop it at 
Leavenworth Street. Its northern section begins at Blondo 
Street and extends through Benson and Briggs. This north 
part of Sixtieth Street is known as the Orphanage Road. 


The district between Sixtieth Street and Seventy-second 
Street, and between Center Street on the South and the Outer 
Belt Traffic Way on the north, is sadly in need of a north- 
south major street, which shall conveniently connect with the 
major east-west streets. On the proposed plan, various pieces 
of existing streets or roads have been connected up so as to 
form a fairly continuous street from Center Street to the 
Outer Belt Traffic Way. As this is an undeveloped district 
and the topography is rough, the proposed street will fulfill 
all practical requirements. 


Seventy-second Street is the most westerly street in the 
city, connecting Ralston to the south with Benson and the 
yet undeveloped district north of the Outer Belt Traffic Way. 
It is considerably used, extending unbroken north-south for a 
distance of about nine miles and intersecting all the prin- 
cipal major east-west streets of the city. The width is con- 
sidered sufficient, but the grade may be improved in places. 
When the development requires it, the railroad grade cross- 
ings should be eliminated. 


The large undeveloped district west of Seventy-second 
Street, which at present is outside the city limits, needs a 
major north-south street. We find in Benson Acres and in 
Keystone Park, several contour streets which may be made 
parts of this future major street. It is suggested that the 
present Seventy-eighth Street be extended north to Dodge 

— 64 — 

Street, and that it be platted north from the Outer Belt Traffic 
Way, and to follow the center line of sections 14 and 11. 
It will then connect with the present contour street in Benson 
Acres, which under various names, eventually connects with 
Military Avenue. To carry Seventy-eighth Street through 
without a break would be impractical and unnecessary. 


Ninetieth Street has been included in the major street 
plan, as it is a through north-south road from Center Street 
to Military Avenue. From Military Avenue to Maple Street, 
it practically parallels the Outer Belt Line on the west side. 
Having a good grade, it will in the future play an important 
part in the development of the western part of the city. 


Ninth Street in Iowa belongs rightfully to the Omaha 
street system in spite of its being located in another state. 
It is considerably used, especially in the summer, because of 
the access it furnishes to the Carter Lake Club House, and 
it is of value in connecting two major east-west streets. 

East- West Streets 

(Beginning at the extreme north end of the City) 


McKinley Street in the north part of Florence, is a part 
of the High Road to Blair and of the Briggs road. It is ex- 
tensively used and gaining importance, because it forms the 
connecting link between these much traveled county roads and 
Thirtieth Street, the principal major street leading south from 
Florence. Its present width of 82.5 feet is considered suffi- 
cient, but some improvements are needed at its intersection 
with Thirtieth Street and the Blair road. 


State Street in Florence, the only long east-west street 
for some distance, has been included in the major street plan. 

— 65 — 

It extends from Main or Thirtieth Street west along the north 
side of Forest Lawn Cemetery to the intersection with the 
valley road from Benson to Florence. 

The grade is not good, but future correction may be 
worked out as this section of the city develops a greater need 
of a cross-town street. 


We recommend that Potter Street in Florence be con- 
sidered a major street from Thirtieth Street to Thirty-Sixth 
Street. It is now the main approach to Forest Lawn Cem- 
etery, and has a street car track. When the contour street 
from Benson to Florence is a reality, Potter Street will form 
its easterly part, connecting it with the major street system. 


Plant Street in Florence extends now from the east city 
limits to Thirtieth Street. A diagonal extension is recom- 
mended from the east city limits southeast to Ninth Street, 
and from Thirtieth Street southwesterly along the valley to 
Curtis Avenue at the intersection of the boulevard. A curv- 
ing diagonal street following the contours of the ground is 
thus obtained, which will be of great advantage to future de- 


Redick Avenue, when properly developed, will be of 
great value to the northwestern part of the city, connecting 
as it does, with all main streets leading in from the north. 
As portions of Redick Avenue are not now used, care should 
be taken that when the property is opened, the alignment of 
the street is preserved. 


The maintenance is recommended of a present county 
road now starting at Ninth Street and Ellison Avenue, and 
going east along the shore line of Florence Lake. This may 
be considered a major street, providing an effective outlet 
for the district. 

— 66 — 


Fort Street from Thirtieth Street to Florence Boulevard 
is now considerably used, and should be maintained as a 
major street. The topographical conditions make it undesir- 
able to open Fort Street between the boulevard and Sixteenth 
Street. From Sixteenth Street east, however, Fort Street has 
been included in the major street plan, with the idea that it 
be connected eventually with east Locust Street, through the 
following streets in East Omaha: Thirty-third Street, Av- 
enue L, and Twenty-eighth Street. It would then make a loop 
through the bottom land around Carter Lake. 


Ames Avenue is now a much used route east-west. We 
propose that when the property west of Fifty-second Street 
is developed it shall be extended to join Seventy-second 
Street by way of a contour street as shown on the Plan. A 
direct connection with Military Avenue is also possible and 
may be desirable, but will involve heavy grades. 


Sprague Street from Sixteenth Street to John A. Creigh- 
ton Boulevard, (Thirty-first Street) is a part of the proposed 
Inner Belt Traffic Way. To provide a much needed traffic 
street into the district adjoining the Paxton Boulevard west 
of the Belt Line, it is recommended that it he extended to 
Forty-second Street, the west abutment of the present rail- 
road bridge over the Boulevard being rebuilt to accommodate 
the passage of Sprague Street under the railroad. 


The existing Bedford Avenue can be enhanced in value 
by a short diagonal connection to Spencer Street at Thirtieth 
Street, and by eliminating the grade crossing at the Belt Line. 
A major east-west street on a good grade, arid with ample 
width, will then be created from Sixteenth Street to Fifty- 
second street, intersecting three different boulevards, and 
the Inner Belt Traffic Way. 

— 67 — 


Locust Street is now used as a traffic street east of Six- 
teenth Street, connecting with East Omaha, and the part of 
Iowa which a change in the course of the river left on the 
Nebraska side. Its viaduct over the tracks makes it important 
as the approach to the industrial district, to the pleasure re- 
sorts on the lake, and as a connection with the East Omaha 
bridge across the Missouri River. Some correction is needed 
near the river bridge. 


Maple Street (old main street in Benson) is now a much 
used country road west of Benson, leading into the city from 
the west, and connecting with Military Avenue. It is recom- 
mended that this part of it be developed as a major street. 


Lake Street is now one of the principal east-west thor- 
oughfares in the northern part of the city. It extends from 
Sixteenth Street to Forty-fifth Street on a good grade, and 
with a sufficient width. In order to make it a still more use- 
ful street, an extension is recommended to Forty-eighth Street 
where it will join Military Avenue. The elimination of the 
grade crossing at the Belt Line will have to be affected at 
some future time. At present it is impractical on account of 
the industries located in the vicinity. From Sixteenth Street 
to Eleventh Street, Lake Street is not now opened. East from 
Eleventh Street in the East Omaha industrial district, it is 
a much used street, paved with cobble stone, and is known 
as Avenue 4 H" through the Iowa territory. It is connected 
with Eleventh Street, and should connect with the bridge 
across the river. 


Blondo Street from Fifty-second Street west along the 
south side of the Country Club, and connecting with the coun- 
ty section line road should be considered as a major street. 
At Fifty-second Street it connects with the proposed Saddle 
Creek road extension, and when this is opened, its useful- 
ness will be much increased. 

— 68 — 


It is recommended that Grace Street be considered a 
major street from Twenty-fourth Street east to Eleventh 
Street, and that a street viaduct be erected over the railroad 
tracks, beginning at Sixteenth Street and ending west of 
Eleventh Street. Grace Street will then serve as an outlet 
for a district with excellent opportunities for industrial de- 


Seward Street between Eleventh Street and Eighth 
Street is now in use. An extension of this street about one 
block east will make another connection with the city-owned 
Winspear Triangle, which has been set aside as a site for 
municipal docks. 


Hamilton Street has large possibilities as a future 
major east- west street. There is no reason why it cannot ex- 
tend from Sixteenth Street to a contour street west of the 
Outer Belt Line, intersecting the Inner and Outer Belt Traffic 
Ways, the boulevards and all of the principal north-south 
major streets. The street width and grade are generally 
good. To make this a through street, some correcting is 
needed as follows: Connect the present Hamilton Street 
with Paul Street by making a slight correction and extend 
Paul Street from Eighteenth Street to Sixteenth Street. 


Nicholas Street east of Sixteenth Street is now a very 
important street, carried over the tracks by a viaduct and 
serving a number of industries and yards in that vicinity. 
Its connection insures it a permanent place as a major street. 
No changes are considered necessary. 


Cuming Street long ago established itself as a major 
east-west street. It extends from Fifteenth Street to Fifty- 
second Street, with the grades good to Forty-fifth Avenue, 
where the proposed Saddle Creek road will provide an outlet 

— 69 — 

for heavy traffic from the northwest. A slight correction is 
necessary at Fiftieth Street. 


California Street, and its extension as Underwood 
Avenue, is a long through street extending from down town 
far into the country. Its lack of development west of For- 
tieth Street is responsible for the comparatively small amount 
of traffic which uses it. We, therefore, recommend that the 
grade of California Street be raised at Saddle Creek road; 
that the grade crossing at the Belt Line be eliminated; that 
the junction of California Street and Underwood Avenue 
at Forty-eighth Street be corrected, and that Underwood 
Avenue be connected at Sixty-ninth Street with a county road 
which continues west across the Northwestern Railroad and 
becomes the Dodge Street Road (Lincoln Highway). Con- 
siderable grading will have to be done through some of the 
undeveloped sections, but considering the value which the 
street will have, both to the city and to the districts which it 
intersects, the expense will be justified. A widening is rec- 
ommended and can easily be affected from Forty-fifth Street 
to Forty-eighth Street. 


The location of Dodge Street and its connection with the 
county, make it one of the principal east-west major streets. 
Betterment of grades between Seventeenth Street and Thirty- 
first Avenue, are recommended. These were shown on pro- 
files and plans which we sent to the City Council with our rec- 
ommendations in July of this year. 


Douglas Street is an important street in the down town 
business district. We have recommended opening it from 
Twenty-fourth Street to Twenty-fifth Avenue, correcting its 
alignment at Twenty-seventh Street, and raising the grade 
slightly at Twenty-fourth Street. This change will make it 
a good street to Twenty-ninth Street where the through traffic 
would divide between Dodge Street and Farnam Street. This 
opening will especially relieve Farnam Street at Twenty - 

— 70 — 

fourth Street, and will generally help the traffic conditions 
in the center of the city. It may be found advisable later to 
reduce the grade of Douglas Street west of Twenty-ninth 
Street, opening it into Turner Park, and make an angling 
roadway through Turner Park to Thirty-first Avenue and 
Dodge Street, thus giving it a more direct connection to the 
west. West of Turner Park, its continuation is impractical 
on account of local conditions, until it reappears at Forty- 
second Street. Its width from the river to Twentieth Street 
is 100 feet; from Twentieth Street to Twenty-fourth Street 
80 feet, except in front of three properties which project be- 
yond the 80 foot line, and narrow the street to 64 and 66 
feet. Before any extensive development takes place west 
of Twentieth Street, Douglas Street should be given a uniform 
width of 80 feet between Twentieth Street and Twenty-fourth 


Farnam Street is one of the best east-west major streets 
in Omaha. While traffic conditions on the street can hardly 
be considered congested, there are many times when there are 
annoying traffic delays. This condition will be relieved by 
the proposed improvement of the other central east-west 
streets. Its width will then prove ample to take care of the 
traffic for a long time to come. A minor correction at the 
intersection of Happy Hollow Boulevard is suggested, in 
order to facilitate the flow of the traffic to and from Dodge 


The possible importance of Harney Street as a major 
east-west street, and a relief to the traffic on Farnam Street, 
cannot be over-estimated. At present its insufficient width 
in places, and its lack of proper outlet, are consequently a 
detriment to the whole business district; in fact, to the whole 
city. It is recommended that Harney Street be widened to 
80 feet from Twentieth Street to a point approximately 400 
feet west of Thirty-first Street, opened between Thirty-sixth 
Street and the alley east of Thirty-eighth Street, and con- 
nected with Farnam Street west of Forty-first Street. Plans 
for these improvements were transmitted with our recom- 
mendations to the City Council in July of this year. The 

— 71 — 

proposed connection to Dewey Avenue, near Turner Boule- 
vard, will relieve Harney Street at the point where it then 
narrows down to 66 feet. 


Dewey Avenue appears now in isolated places west of 
Twenty-fifth Avenue but does not serve any district satis- 
factorily. It is recommended that it be treated as a major 
street from Turner Boulevard to Happy Hollow Boulevard. 
Dewey Avenue will then provide another needed connection 
between the fast developing residence district in the west- 
ern part of the city, and the down-town business district. To 
accomplish this, the following improvements are recom- 
mended: Extend Dewey Avenue east of Thirty -third Street 
to Harney Street by way of an angling street which will join 
Harney Street approximately 400 feet west of Thirty-first 
Street, and open and widen it as necessary from Forty-fifth 
Street to Fiftieth Street. A minimum width of 60 feet is 
considered sufficient. The Belt Line will be carried over this 
street. The extension east of Thirty-third street, connecting 
with Harney Street has been studied in detail; the plans were 
made and sent to the City Council in July of this year. 


Howard Street from Eighteenth Street to Twenty fourth 
Street may be considered a major street. A widening is 
recommended from Twentieth Street to Twenty second Street, 
and a change of grade from Twentieth Street to a point ap- 
proximately 210 feet east of Twenty-fourth Street as shown 
on our detail plan, with recommendation sent to the City 


As a relieving street to Leavenworth Street, and to the 
southwest section of the city, St. Mary's Avenue will play an 
important part, if improved. At the present time it is com- 
paratively unused from Eighteenth Street to Twenty-fourth 
Street, and only slightly used from Twenty-fourth Street to its 
termination at Twenty-seventh Street. 

A change of grade from Seventeenth Street to Twenty- 
fourth Avenue is recommended, as is an extension from 
Twenty-seventh Street to the intersection of Thirty-first Av- 

— 72 — 

enue and Leavenworth Street. A minimum width of 66 feet 
should be maintained. A formal recommendation of this 
improvement, with the plans, was sent during the year to the 
City Council. 


Leavenworth Street is now an important east-west major 
street for street cars as well as for vehicle traffic. Congestion 
at a few places is increasing, but the improvement of St. 
Mary's Avenue will relieve this. 

It is recommended that the railroad grade crossings at 
Thirty -ninth Avenue and Forty-eighth Streets be eliminated. 


Pacific Street west of Sixtieth Street constitutes the 
natural approach for a large district west of the city limits. 
If developed east of Sixtieth Street by a correction between 
Fifty-fifth Street and Fifty-second Street by an opening be- 
tween Fifty-second Street and Fifty-first Street, by a widen- 
ing between Forty-second Street and the proposed Inner Belt 
Traffice Way, by a change of grade in places, and by elimina- 
tion of the grade crossings at both the Inner Belt Line and 
the main tracks of the M. P. Ry., Pacific Street, — in spite 
of its heavy grade, will be a very important east-west major 
street from the rural district into the city, as far as the pro- 
posed Iner Belt Traffic Way about Thirty-eighth Street. 


It is proposed that Pierce Street from Twenty-second 
Street to Eighteenth Street shall constitute a part of the Inner 
Belt Traffic Way; from Second Street to Tenth Street it is 
considerably used, giving outlet to the district along the river. 
It should be graded from Eleventh Street to Thirteenth Street, 
and will then be a good traffic street all the way from Second 
Street to Sixteenth Street. 


A direct connection between Woolworth Avenue and 
William Street, west and east respectively, of the Union 
Pacific tracks, is proposed. This would mean the erection 

— 73 — 

of a street viaduct beginning at Twenty-first Street and end- 
ing at Eighteenth Street, going over Twentieth Street and the 
Railroad tracks, and an opening between Twenty-Second 
Street and Twenty-fourth Street. The bridge approach at 
Eighteenth Street should be connected with William Street 
by way of a short diagonal street. Great relief will thus be 
given to a thickly populated section. The street thus created 
may not be of much value for hauling heavy loads on ac- 
count of the undesirable grades, but as affording a means of 
convenient intercourse between two separated parts of the 
city, the improvement is justified. East of Thirteenth Street, 
William Street will require a few corrections. It is recom- 
mended that traffic be allowed to use the present Woolworth 
Avenue Boulevard from Thirty-second Avenue to Thirty- 
third Street in order that it may reach Thirty-third Street. 


Center Street is one of the principal streets leading into 
the city and should be further developed. From Forty-fifth 
Street to the Missouri Pacific Ry., it will be used as a joint 
traffic street and boulevard, as discussed under the heading 
of "Boulevards." Along the north line of the Bohemian 
Cemetery, Center Street will serve as a connecting link be- 
tween the extended Saddle Creek Road and the proposed 
traffic street, paralleling the Missouri Pacific to Ralston. The 
grade in its entire length is very satisfactory. The elimina- 
tion of the railroad grade crossing east of Sixtieth Street, 
will have to be considered at some future time. 


Ed. Creighton Avenue extends from Twenty-seventh 
Street to Thirty-second Avenue, and has value as a major 
street in affording a connection between the Field Club Dis- 
trict and the Inner Belt Traffic Way. 


There is great need of a through east-west street south 
of Hanscom Park. This section of the city, practically 
divided into three separate parts by railroads, has no ade- 
quate means of traveling continually east and west. By con- 
necting up parts of Vinton Street, Bancroft Street and Arbor 

— 74 — 

Street, and making various extensions and connections, as 
shown on the plan, a very serviceable east-west major street 
can be obtained. The improvements contemplated are as fol- 
lows: Extension of Bancroft Street from Seventeenth Street 
east half a block to Vinton Street; the raising of the east ap- 
proach of Bancroft Street bridge, and the elimination of the 
grade crossing at the Inner Belt Line at Thirty-seventh Street. 
Between Thirty-eighth Avenue and Forty-second Street, some 
corrections will be necessary. 


Vinton Street from Thirteenth Street to Twenty-fourth 
Street is now a very much used street, of an ample width 
and an excellent grade. A development of this street east 
and west, connecting existing streets, offers an opportunity 
to obtain a very useful east-west major street for a long 
distance. Beginning at Twenty-fourth Street, going west, 
a traffic street can be arranged beside the Deer Park Boule- 
vard, and carried over the bridge used now exclusively for 
boulevard purposes. 

West of the bridge, Vinton Street appears again and 
continues unbroken to Thirty-seventh Street. From this point, 
it is proposed to make a diagonal connection through yet 
unplatted property to Grover Street at its intersection with 
Forty-second Street. Grover Street then extends west where 
it is a part of the Outer Belt Traffic Way. The grade cross- 
ing of Vinton Street and the Belt Line at Thirty-fifth Street 
should be eliminated by building a street viaduct across the 
tracks. East of Thirteenth Street, Vinton Street needs to be 
widened from Thirteenth Street to Twelfth Street and con- 
nected w T ith Bancroft Street at Eleventh Street. Then by 
using Bancroft Street, we have a good street practically to 
the river. 


Grover Street from Forty-second Street west, is an exist- 
ing street and forms the south part of the proposed Outer Belt 
Traffic Way. To avoid building another viaduct across the 
Inner Belt Line track, it is recommended that Grover Street 
be connected at Forty-second Street with Vinton Street by a 
diagonal street through yet unplatted property. 

— 75 — 


F Street, though given importance by its viaduct over the 
railroads, is now merely a local street without distinct begin- 
ning or ending. If extended east of Hoctor Boulevard to 
Thirteenth Street, and west of Forty-second Street to connect 
with an existing county road at Seventy-second Street, it will 
become an important east- west major street. 


L Street with its viaducts over the railroads, is one of 
the most extensively used east-west streets in the southern 
part of the city. East of Twenty-fourth Street it is called 
Missouri Avenue and has been dedicated as far as Tenth 
Street east of the tracks, though on account of the steep bank, 
it is not used, from Thirteenth Street east of the tracks. As 
a connection to the east across the tracks, we recommend a 
continued use of J Street and Twelfth Street. L Street can 
then be extended ease to serve a future development of the 
bottom lands. 

No recommendation for changes in this street west of 
Thirteenth Street is made, as the street is considered wide 
enough to carry the cross-town traffic of this district. 


Street from Thirteenth Street to Twenty-seventh Street 
is the only possibility for an east-west street between L Street 
and Y Street and should, therefore, be developed. At Twenty- 
seventh Street it connects with the viaduct leading to the 
Stock Yards. At Thirteenth Street it might be extended east 
to give an outlet for the low lands east of the tracks. Its 
present width is sufficient, and its grade will be satisfactory 
if some cut can be made at Twentieth Street. 


Q Street, carried over the railroads by viaducts, and ex- 
tending from Twenty-fourth to Ralston, is probably the most 
used east-west street in the southern part of the city. No 
change is recommended for this street. 

— 76 — 


Y Street may be developed without difficuty, into a very 
serviceable east-west major street. It is at present open from 
Thirteenth Street to Twenty-third Street, and from Twenty- 
fifth Street to Fifty-sixth Street. It is recommended that it 
be opened from Twenty-third Street to Twenty-fifth Street 
across the railroad, widened from Twenty-seventh Street to 
Forty-second Street, and from Forty-eighth Street to Fifty- 
sixth Street, and then connected with Sixtieth Street by a 
street paralleling C, B. & Q. R. R. At some future time, 
elimination of the grade crossing of the U. P. and C, B. & 
Q. railroads will be necessary. 


At the extreme southern boundary of the city an excel- 
lent opportunity for an east-west major street will be pro- 
vided by developing Harrison Street from Thirteenth Street 
to its intersection with the suburban railroad south of Rals- 
ton. The present grade crossing of the U. P. R. R. near Rail- 
road Avenue should be eliminated when the development of 
the district demands it. An arrangement with the Sarpy 
County authorities may doubtless be reached whereby a 
widening of the street will be accomplished. The grade can 
be made very satisfactory. 

Diagonal Major Streets 


By extending Redman Avenue east of Thirty-third 
Street, using part of the way the present Saratoga Street, and 
connecting it with Commercial Avenue, we take advantage 
of one of the finest opportunities for establishing a major 
angling street leading into the city from the northwest. The 
extension will require some correction of Saratoga Street, 
and the condemnation of some property, but considering the 
value of such a street to the district and to the city at large, 
this is well worth while. 

This street as proposed, will at some future time be the 
beginning of the Outer Belt Traffic Way, the argument for 
which is presented under another heading. Redman Avenue 

— 77 — 

proper is continuous to Seventy-second Street where is stops 
rather abruptly. It is recommended that it be there connected 
with the Redick Avenue extension, thus securing another 
through east-west street. 


There is no street of more interesting possibilities in the 
north part of Omaha than Commercial Avenue, but its rail- 
road grade crossing, the grade of the street, and its abrupt 
ending at Ames Avenue, now render it comparatively use- 
less. If extended to Florence Boulevard, and there properly 
connected to Redman Avenue extension, as shown on the 
plans, it will provide an admirable direct connection from 
Sixteenth Street to a great portion of the northwest part of 
the city. At the same time it will be a link in the future Outer 
Belt Traffic Way along the Northwestern Railroad. It is 
recommended that the Commercial Avenue grade crossing 
of the Belt Line, be eliminated. 


There is a need of a connecting street between Florence 
and Benson. Two parts of the city, widely separated, may, 
when the development in the district demand it, easily and at 
a slight cost, be connected to great advantage to the large un- 
developed section in the northwest part of the city. 

Beginning at Potter Street and Thirty-sixth Street, a 
county road running in a southerly direction, is now in exis- 
tence. An extension of this road following the valley, will 
eventually connect with Fifty-second Street north of Ames 
Avenue. A suitable crossing at the Outer Belt Line (N. W. 
R. R. ) will be a part of the future development. 


About half a mile west of Florence on the paved road to 
Briggs, an old established road appears, running in a south- 
westerly direction through the valleys. As a diagonal cross 
country road, it is of great importance to this district. At 
Redick Avenue it connects with the proposed Outer Belt 
Traffic Way, which on an easy grade, connects with the major 
street system. 

— 78 — 

No immediate improvement is recommended for this 
street, as it is located outside the city limits, and is in a yet 
undeveloped district. 


The North Bottoms now have only one connection with 
the city, and that is by way of Sixteenth Street. A great 
inconvenience is thereby forced on the people living in this 
district, and the development of the area is retarded. It is 
recommended that a new street be made to begin at Sixteenth 
Street and Kansas Avenue, and run in a southwesterly direc- 
tion to connect with Fort Street at the Boulevard. The bank 
east of the boulevard will permit a satisfactory grade by 
following the contours as shown on the plan. 


Military Avenue is one of the oldest roads leading into 
the city. Omaha is indeed fortunate to possess such a street. 
Its grade development is a matter for future consideration, 
while its width is sufficient to carry a far greater volume of 
traffic than now uses it. No immediate change is, therefore, 
recommended, except a readjustment of the viaduct across 
the Belt Line where Military Avenue converges with Hamil- 
ton Street. As soon as any extensive repair is needed on the 
viaduct, this readjustment should be made. 



In connection with the proposed use of the city-owned 
Winspear Triangle as a landing place for the river boats, 
with the necessary railroad yards and freight houses ; it is 
suggested to plan another major street connecting Winspear 
Triangle with the major street system. This will best be 
affected by a looped street, as shown on the plan, giving the 
property an outlet at both ends. The exact route of the street 
will have to be determined when a plan for the municipal 
docks has been made. 

— 79 — 


The city now owns a right-of-way sixty feet wide from 
Forty-eighth and Hamilton Street to Fiftieth Street, north 
of Woolworth Avenue, which was obtained for the purpose of 
constructing the Saddle Creek sewer. Part of this right-of- 
way constitutes a portion of the Inner Belt Traffic Way. 

It is recommended to extend Saddle Creek road from 
Forty-eighth and Hamilton Streets in a northwesterly direc- 
tion along the creek, connecting with Blondo Street at Fifty- 
second Street; on the south extend the road from Fiftieth 
Street, north of Woolworth, in a southwesterly direction to 
the intersection with Center Street, where Fifty-second Street 
enters from the north, as shown on the plan. Where the road 
crosses the Belt Line south of Cuming Street and south of 
Dewey Aveftue, railroad bridges with the traffic under the 
tracks, are recommended. 


It should be the policy of the city to provide better ac- 
commodations between the rural communities outside of the 
boundary and the city proper. Ralston and the large district 
full of possibilities surrounding it, are now very inadequately 
connected with the proposed major street plan. A develop- 
ment along the Missouri Pacific tracks from Center Street 
to Ralston, may see its realization in a not too distant future. 
It is the opinion of the City Planning Commission that a 
street, with sufficient width to take care of double street car 
tracks, should be planned from Center Street along the Mis- 
souri Pacific Railroad to Ralston, with enough space between 
the street and the railroad to allow for industrial develop- 
ment. This street, which follows the natural draws, will at 
the same time, serve as a right-of-way for a principal sewer 
from Saddle Creek and the Papillion drainage districts. Cen- 
ter Street will constitute the connecting link between this 
street and the Saddle Creek Road, thus giving the city a con- 
tinuous diagonal street about eight miles long, in a north- 
easterly direction from Ralston, intersecting all the principal 
major streets. 

— 80 — 


The topography of the southwest part of the city is such 
that there is a great need of thoroughfares following the con- 
tours. These will help the development, and when once con- 
structed, will be of material assistance to the people occupy- 
ing this district. We recommend that a diagonal street be 
planned from the north end of the Forty-second Street viaduct 
at west "C" Street, to Center Street about Fifty-sixth Street. 
For the entire distance, this can follow a natural depression 
of the ground, furnishing easy access to the cemeteries on 
Center Street from the west part of old South Omaha, and 
proving of considerable importance as a traffic street for the 
industries and yards along Saddle Creek Road. Its connec- 
tion with the proposed traffic street to Ralston, by way of 
Center Street, and with a proposed boulevard along Center 
Street, lends it still more importance. The district through 
which the proposed diagonal street is planned, is still un- 
platted. This road through the valley, will save the city a 
great deal of money in building sewers in that district when 
they are needed. 


West of the Inner Belt Line, in the southwest part of the 
city, a diagonal connection, beginning about Arbor Street 
and Thirty-eighth Avenue, and going southwesterly through 
a valley on easy grades to Spring and Forty-second Streets, 
as shown on the plan, is recommended. The topography of 
the country, and the desirability of acquiring a right-of-way 
for a sewer through this locality, as already proposed by the 
Engineering Department, justifies the proposed diagonal 
street. This section is now almost entirely undeveloped. 


The southeast part of the city between Street and Y 
Street, and east of Twentieth Street, is rich in ravines and 
draws, but has a very inadequate street plan. It is evident 

— 81 — 

that the adoption of the checkerboard plan has been unfor- 
tunate for this part of the city. It may prove necessary to 
vacate many of the present streets, and plan new ones follow- 
ing the contours. These contour streets will, at the same 
time, give an opportunity for the construction of sewers. 
As a part of the major street plan, it is proposed to plan a 
street beginning at Seventeenth and Y Streets, running in a 
northeasterly direction along the east slope of the ravine, and 
ending at Thirteenth Street near P Street. Secondary con- 
tour streets in this section are contemplated, and will be con- 
sidered in future reports. 



We suggest that study be authorized for a diagonal street 
east of the Burlington tracks, paralleling the railroad from 
Thirty-sixth Street and L Street to the south city limits. An 
easy grade and cut-off of considerable distance could be se- 
cured. Such a street would be a great help to that district, 
furnishing an outlet for many short dead-end streets. It 
would add to the value of trackage property, would avoid 
the necessity of several railroad crossings, and would extend 
more or. less directly from the south county line at about 
forty-eighth Street to the business district. 


It is suggested that Second Street and Sixth Street be 
connected by a contour street following the north side of the 
ravine south of Dorcas Street at such time as Second Street 
is opened. 


The part of the city located south of Bancroft Street 
and between Riverview Park and the river, is commonly 
called "Gibson." At present it is much isolated on account 
of its poor connection with the rest of the city. By develop- 
ing Ridge Avenue, and connecting it at Hascal Street, with 
an existing contour street leading in a northwesterly direc- 
tion, and then by extending this contour street to Bancroft 
Street, an excellent outlet for Gibson may be obtained. 

— 82 — 


In the south part of the city, a county road known as 
"Sarpy Avenue" has established itself as a main traveled 
street. Its east end connects south of Y Street with Railroad 
Avenue, which is a continuation of Twenty-fourth Street. 
This street, with its continuation in Sarpy County, has been 
included in the major street plan. An elimination of the 
Union Pacific grade crossing is reserved for future consid- 


Hoctor Boulevard would be a very serviceable major 
street if extended from F Street in a southeasterly direction 
to intersect with Thirteenth Street, following the east bank 
of the ravine west of the German Home. A diagonal street 
like this would be a distinct help for the future develop- 
ment of this district, and would also be useful as a connect- 
ing link between Spring Lake Park and the South River 
Drive, tying the latter into the Inner Boulevard System. 



To determine the amount of traffic carried by each of 
the east-west central streets, a traffic census was taken during 
the month of October, 1917. This census disclosed the facts 
summarized as follows: 


No. of 



No. of 

No. of 

No. of 



No. of 









St. Mary's 



























































To Major Streets and Boulevards 


Ames Avenue 67 

Arbor Street 74 

Arbor Street and Spring 
Street, connecting street 

between 81 

Bedford Avenue 67 

Bellevue Boulevard and Ban- 
croft Street, intersection 

of 33 

Bemis Park and John A. 
Creighton Boulevard, con- 
nection between 33 

Blondo Street 68 

California Street 70 

Center Street 74 

Chicago Street and Florence 
Boulevard, connection be- 
tween 33 

Commercial Avenue 78 

Cuming Street 69 

Dahlman Boulevard 61 

Dewey Avenue 72 

Dodge Street 70 

Dorcas Street to Riverview 

Park 39 

Douglas Street 70 

East Omaha Street 66 

Ed. Creighton Avenue 74 

Eighth Street 56 

Eighteenth Street 58 

Eleventh Street 57 

F Street 76 

Farnam Street 71 

Fifty-second Street ....*.... 63 
Florence and Benson, con- 
necting street between. . .78 
Florence Boulevard, exten- 
sion of 34 

Forest Lawn Cemetery, road 

west of 78 

Fort Street . /. 67 

Fourth Street 56 

Fortieth Street . 62 

Forty-eighth Street 63 

Forty-second Street 63 

Forty-second Street and Cen- 
ter Street, diagonal street 

between 81 

Gibson 82 

— 87 


Grace Street 69 

Grover Street 75 

Hamilton Street 69 

Hanscom Park and Elmwood 
Park, connection between. 30 

Harney Street 71 

Harrison Street 77 

Hoctor Boulevard 83 

Howard Street 7 2 

Inner Belt Traffic Way 47 

Kansas Avenue to Florence 
Boulevard, diagnoal street 
from 7 9 

L Street 7 6 

Leavenworth Street 73 

Lake Street 68 

Locust Street 68 

Mandan Park to Child's 

Point 40 

McKinley Street 65 

Maple Street 68 

Military Avenue 79 

Nicholas Street 69 

Ninth Street 57 

Ninth Street, Iowa 65 

Ninetieth Street 65 

O Street 76 

Outer Belt Traffic Way ... .48 

Pacific Street 73 

Park Avenue 60 

Pierce Street 73 

Plant Street .66 

Potter Street 66 

Q Street 76 

Ralston, traffice street to. . .80 

Redick Avenue 66 

Redman Avenue 77 

Riverview Park to J Street. .39 

Saddle Creek Road 80 

St. Mary's Avenue 72 

Sarpy Avenue 83 

Second Street 56 

Second Street and Sixth 
Street, connection be- 
tween 82 

INDEX — (continued) 


Seventeenth Street 58 

Seventh Street . . . 56 

Seventy-eighth Street 64 

Seventy-second Street 64 

Seward Street 69 

Sixteenth Street 58 

Sixth Street 56 

Sixtieth Street 63 

Sixty-sixth Street 64 

Sprague Street 67 

State Street 65 

Tenth Street .57 

Thirteenth Street 57 

Thirteenth Street Boulevard 
(J Street to Mandan 

Park) 39 

Thirteenth Street with Y 
Street, contour street con- 
necting 81 


Thirtieth Street 61 

Thirty-second Avenue 61 

Thirty-second Avenue and 
Hanscom Boulevard, con- 
nection between 33 

Thirty-sixth Street 62 

Thirty-sixth Street and Forty- 
eighth Street, diagonal 

street between 82 

Thirty-third Street 62 

Twentieth Street 59 

Twenty-fourth Street 59 

Twenty-second Street 59 

Twenty-seventh Street 60 

Vinton Street 75 

Winspear Triangle, road for 

development of 79 

Woolworth Avenue 73 

Y Street 77 















i.S ■■;;:;: ■':■-:::- 



NA Omaha- City planning 

9127 commission 
05A3 Preliminary studies tor 

a city plan for Omaha 

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